Welccome, New Hams!

Welcome to the world of ham radio! Congratulations, you just made the world smaller by getting your ham license. What other way can you easily talk to someone in any corner of the world in real-time? Regardless of your skillset, there are many activities to enjoy and explore in this hobby. From rag chewing, experimenting, antenna building, moon bounce, satellite communications, DX hunting, contesting, CW/SSB/digital modes, or emergency communications to name a few.

PAARA, The Friendliest Ham Club Around, is a general interest club that has members enjoying almost all aspects of amateur radio. With over 200 active members, surely someone in the club has experience in whatever activity you may find interesting. PAARA holds monthly meetings on the 1st Friday of every month, except when holidays fall on that Friday. Our meetings are held at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto. Meetings are open to anyone, licensed or not, members or not. We do, however, invite you to join and learn with the rest of us.

Meetings include information on current ham radio news, upcoming on-air activities, and announcements of local events. Every meeting has a speaker whose topic is generally related to some aspect of amateur radio but maybe more of a general interest topic. A raffle is held at the conclusion of the meeting when lucky winners take away a variety of prizes, most related to our hobby. Every January is our Home Brew night where members bring various projects they’ve been working for show and tell. The December meeting features our “Dream to Reality” raffle where the grand prize is an HF radio!

Once a year, we have a field trip to some interesting destination. Amateur radio may or may not be involved with the destination but they are all interesting places to visit with fellow PAARA members. Our “big event” of the year is the ARRL sponsored Field Day, which runs for 24 hours on the last full weekend of June. If you’re not familiar with that event, it’s a national emergency preparedness public outreach event. PAARA sets up one of the larger sites in the bay area at a local park.

This event is a great way to learn more about antennas, operate on large aluminum (BIG antennas), and have a great time. We set up 6 stations, two operating CW, two on phone, one VHF/UHF/SAT and one GOTA or Get On The Air. Seven towers are also set up to get the antennas up in the air. If you have a technician license, haven’t worked HF before, the GOTA station is the place to start as an experienced operator is there to coach you through the process of making HF contacts. We’re always looking for help in setup, operating, and teardown, so please consider joining the activity, it’s a great place to learn a lot. As always, there’s plenty of great food to keep you going.

Now that you’re on our web site, take a look around and see what else is going on. Make sure to check out some of the back issues of PAARAgraphs, our newsletter, for interesting stories and information.

Again, all are welcome to attend our meetings and get the feel for the hobby. We have plenty of new hams, old-timers, and people curious about the hobby thus a great place to find an Elmer. I hope to see you at one of our meetings. Make sure to look me up and say HI.

Jim Thielemann, K6SV

Get on the air and keep the airwaves alive!

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